Watch Dr. Aruna Jagdish in this talk with BuzzingBubs about ‘Itsy Bitsy Yoga®’ – yoga for the better health of infants. In this exclusive interview she discusses her experiences with baby yoga; the benefits for mothers, their babies and the magical bond between them.
Here is the transcript of our interview with Pediatrician, Dr. Aruna Jagdish. Please note that the transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity and is not verbatim
Dr. Aruna Jagdish is a Paediatrian who has been practicing in Bangalore for the last 27 years. Her area of specialisation is ‘Well Baby Clinics’ that covers the management of a new born child – managing immunisations, growth and development as well as nutrition. Her other interest is in Community Paediatric work which she has been pursuing for over 10 years. In the last 2 years she has been conducting Itsy Bitsy Yoga® classes at her centre, which in her words is “new, interesting and absolutely wonderful.”
How did you begin with baby yoga?
Back in July-August of 2011 the mother of a child patient under my care came in to the clinic with her new born child. After her regular consultation she showed me a book and recommended that I go through it, “It’s really interesting, it’s about yoga for babies”. She handed me her copy of ‘Itsy Bitsy Yoga’ written by Helen Garabedian. Since I found the book very compelling, I made it a point to go to the U.S., register for the course and do the program. Since then, I’ve been conducting these classes over the last two years. I believe it’s truly beneficial for babies.
When is the right time to start baby yoga?
According to the founder of Itsy Bitsy Yoga®, Helen, you can start right from birth. As a paediatrician, in my experience, I recommend that mothers start from when the child is a month old. This gives mothers some time to first settle down with their baby; with knowing their baby, understanding their babies demands, settling down with nutrition – basically breast feeding, getting over their own aches and pains, and coming to terms with their emotional turmoil.
This normally happens by week 3, so I recommend that they begin classes when the child reaches the 1 month milestone. However, if somebody walks in when their child is 6 months old, then that’s a great time to start baby yoga too, it doesn’t matter. Itsy Bitsy Yoga is designed for children from birth upto four years. My classes are catered to children from newborns to two year olds.
What are the advantages of baby yoga?
The benefits of yoga can be seen across all age groups. Yoga is something we all know is a natural way of living and is very scientific – that’s what appeals to me as a doctor. When I look at yoga especially for the babies who come to me, these are some of the main benefits I see:
- Mother and Child Bonding – this is the immediate benefit first and foremost. It is the most beautiful time a mother can spend with her baby.
- Boosting Confidence of Mothers – Young moms, especially first time moms appear harassed, are short on time, lack adequate sleep and are often left confused. The most confident girl also cannot believe in herself that she can make the right decisions for her child. In India especially, young moms have many people guiding them on what to do with their babies and it can be overwhelming at times. When they come for the Itsy Bitsy Yoga® class, it is all about just them and their child. It is about feeling the baby, exercising with the baby and that brings in a lot of confidence.
- Reduced Fussiness and Colic in Babies – Doing these exercises brings down fussiness and restlessness in babies, especially in babies who are gassy and get colic. As a paediatrician, previously my advice to parents of colicky children would be along the lines of – don’t worry it will pass, burp the child, walk around with the child and maybe prescribe medicine as a last resort. But as parents of colicky children only know, it is very difficult to watch children crying and in pain. Today, as I have seen the positive results of Itsy Bitsy Yoga® on babies with colic, I advocate it to every mother.
What are the main tips to remember about baby yoga practice?
- Time of day – Yoga can be done at any time of the day. It is important to ensure a time gap of at least half an hour between feeding and doing the yoga. When a child is fed earlier then they are not uncomfortable during exercise and they are happy to do yoga because they are not hungry.
- Appropriate clothing – Dress your child in minimal, loose clothes. They shouldn’t be covered head to toe as you need to move their limbs.
- Proper Training – It is critical to learn Itsy Bitsy Yoga® from a trained practitioner in order to perform the positioning and postures properly. A mother who comes to my classes should not try, in turn, to teach her baby’s nanny or father to do baby yoga with the child. The person attending the sessions at the centre should be the person who always does yoga with the child even at home.
Setting the mood for baby yoga
- The Mother – When a mother walks in to do baby yoga with me, I want to know that she is comfortable and relaxed. When a mother walks in to the center for baby yoga, she is asked to sit down in a waiting area, relax a little and is offered a cup of tea, coffee or any beverage of her choice. Once she gets into the frame of mind of doing yoga, she can walk in to the yoga studio.
- The Child – Babies should be fed at least half an hour to 45 minutes prior to a yoga session and should be in a comfortable state. If a child is irritable, fussy or hungry at the designated yoga time, I tell mothers to listen to what the baby is saying and not force the baby through a session. They can always make it up at another time. Even at home sessions (I ask mother’s to do baby yoga three times a day with their infants) be guided by the baby and not by the clock – be flexible.
What are the long term benefits of baby yoga?
The enduring benefit of baby yoga is mother and child bonding. When you have a good mother-child bond, you develop an emotionally stable baby, who grows up to be an emotionally stable child, who becomes an emotionally stable teenager and goes on to be a stable adult. I don’t think I can emphasise any more the benefits of starting yoga young!
About Itsy Bitsy Yoga®
Helen Gaberdain, the founder of Itsy Bitsy Yoga, is a certified yoga teacher and a certified infant massage and infant developmental movement educator. She has developed over seventy yoga postures and thirty-five series for moms and dads to enjoy with their growing babies. It is a wonderful program designed for children from birth till four years of age. It is a wonderful program designed for children from birth till four years of age. No previous yoga experience is required to begin practicing. Itsy Bitsy Yoga ® is an excellent way to bond with your baby and improve his or her health
Helen believes that Itsy Bitsy Yoga will help babies and children:
- sleep better
- get relief from gas pains and colic
- digest food easier
- stay healthier with a strong immune system
- receive neuromuscular stimulation
- learn to relax
Helen’s book also features seven Magic Poses that can soothe fussy, upset babies within minutes! So start enjoying more time with your happy yoga baby right now.
Where to buy
Order your copy of Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian on Flipkart